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DIY Sheep

 

These are the adventures of DIY Sheep, Trusty the hamburger and Sandy the sandwich.

 

 

I am not a fast food person. But I am human. Every so often I succumb to the lure of the cheap, fast and tasty. I bought a hamburger and because of circumstances I left it in my car for twenty four hours. But at the end of the twenty four hours I was hungry and desperate. I eyed the hamburger warily and it eyed me back. I knew I shouldn’t do it. But I knew the reputation. I had seen the documentaries. And I have a friend who has a muffin that is now approaching its fifth birthday and it still looks tasty. So I thought with all the wisdom of Homer Simpson:  ‘bugger it – that is what microwaves are for. It will nuke any bad stuff and that tasty tasty burger will be mine’.

 

And as you can see I didn’t die. But the big question is why didn’t I die a horrible death? Or at least get a little sick.

 

My mother has always been obsessed with good healthy nutritious food. This annoyed me no end when I was a kid as my main mission in life was to eat as much bad unhealthy tasty food as I could. But now I am all grown up I was a little concerned. The fact that I could eat a hamburger that had sitting on the dashboard of my car for twenty four hours with no ill effects either says something about my constitution or that hamburger.

 

Just what exactly was I eating? What was I putting into my body? I put an awful lot of bad things into my body on a daily basis – sweet sweet beer - but this concerned me.

 

I decided I would go gonzo journalist and do an experiment. How far could I leave a hamburger on my dashboard and not die of food poisoning after eating it? I went and bought another hamburger, which I named Trusty, and a sandwich, which I named Sandy. But then the story became an investigation into something different. The most fascinating thing about food, is not actually the food. It is about the people.

 

The lady in the hamburger booth looked fifteen, depressed and was probably paid a pittance. I smiled and asked her if she ate the food here and did she like it. I must have been the first person that day to treat this poor woman as a human being. She lit up, said it was ok and advised me to have a very pleasant day. But the difference this time was that I think she actually meant it. I went away with the vague feeling that although I had only done a little tiny thing, just by talking to her like a person I had made her day a little better.

 

The problem with making everything faster, more convenient and more efficient is that by making everything faster, more convenient and more efficient customers start to look at the people serving them not as people but as merely another cog in the faster, more convenient and more efficient service they are buying – be it a hamburger or whatever.

 

The most vivid memory of that hamburger is that poor girl sitting in that little booth being treated as nothing more than an extension of the cash register by the hamburgerees.

 

And I am guilty of doing it too. I have never really looked at those people as people before, more as a sad cog of a sad corporate brand.

 

But then I bought my sandwich. This was a completely different experience. I went away with a bunch of discount vouchers, a smile on my face and general contented feeling about the state of the world.

 

The big difference between the two experiences – human interaction. I am a big believer in being nice to people. And do you know - it actually works. I had to talk to the sandwich guy because he was making my sandwich. My sandwich guy was nice to me, so I was nice to him. Making a sandwich is a rather mundane experience. There is no way you can make buying food a ‘fun and exciting adventure’ that rivals a visit to Dreamworld, as some ads want you to believe. But we both got as much pleasure out of it as we could, I went away feeling that the human race is not doomed to hideous fate of violence and despair, popped on some mellow music, and let three people into my lane on the drive home.

 

So while that guy might have thought he was only selling me a sandwich, his friendly attitude and behaviour was important to whole of society. If I had hopped into my fonking great 4WD, stuck on some heavy metal and driven off in a rage, I could have ploughed into a kindergarten in a fit of sandwich induced rage. And you thought it was just a snack.   

 

I ate some of Trusty and he made me feel sick. He had a very distinctive smell and flavour. Even hours later I could feel and smell that burger. I imagined it was coming out of my pores in the same way that when you squeeze two Rivata biscuits filled with Vegemite together and little black Vegemite worms ooze out of the holes. Sandy went down a little better, and actually made me feel a little less sick.

 

I never got to find out how long Trusty and Sandy would have stood up to the time test. My mother found out about the experiment, raided my fonking great 4WD and threw them away. A sad end for my valiant Trusty and Sandy.